Bell Textron has announced that the Bell 505 cargo hook has been approved by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to carry up to 2,000 lb (907 kg), giving the helicopter an external gross weight capability of 4,475 lb (2,030 kg).

“The cargo hook capabilities are an important enhancement for the aircraft and an added capability for utility and public safety operations,” noted Duncan Van De Velde, Bell’s managing director for Europe and Russia. “The Bell 505 is built for versatility and being able to adapt quickly, and the cargo hook will be a great addition for our utility customers in Europe.”

In November 2018, Storm Heliworks, a helicopter operator based in Sweden, tested the 505 cargo hook while in Canada. The company performed a wide range of specialised operations, such as building power lines, clearing trees from power lines, forest inspections, mosquito control, firefighting and other missions.

“Our experience with flying the 505 was very positive, and it proved to be an excellent aircraft for our missions,” commented Dennis Sundqvist, deputy flight operating manager, Storm Heliworks. “Cargo hooks are pertinent for our work. The Bell 505 is the strongest helicopter we’ve flown for its size, and we’re excited to see this added capability to the aircraft certified.”

One of Bell’s North American 505 operators, Rocky Mountain Rotors, is a leading provider of helicopter services in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. It utilises its cargo hook for SAR and utility missions.

“The Bell 505 is very diversified as far as the missions it can do,” said Mark Taylor, Rocky Mountain’s co-owner and chief pilot. “There have been multiple times we’ve had to turn it into a cargo ship versus a passenger ship, and most of those times it’s involved search and rescue. The performance of the helicopter is impressive.

“There’s a big pricing difference between a 505 and a long light single’s cost of operations,” continued Taylor. “If I need to move more weight, I’m looking at my larger single-engine aircraft, but the 505 is right there as a contender, and I can operate for quite a bit less than the other aircraft. Being competitive with an aircraft that’s capable of performing in rugged terrain in Montana, it definitely has helped.”

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